Label Materials Guide
Choosing the right label material and adhesive will ensure that you get the best fit for your application.
- Direct Thermal - uses heat sensitive paper by transferring heat through the print head of a direct thermal printer burning an image directly onto a label. The print will fade in sunlight or heat and can be easily marked when scuffed.
- Thermal Transfer - uses heat to transfer an image using an ink ribbon onto a label. Heat from the print head melts the ink on the ribbon which is deposited onto the label surface to create the image.
- Inkjet - uses inkjet technology, transferring ink through the print head to the label. if you want to print full colour phtoto quality labels on demand, then a colour inkjet label printer would be ideal.
Direct Thermal Paper
Direct thermal material for short term use, very limited resistance to marking or smudging and contact should be avoided with moisture, oil and fats. Direct thermal labels, ideal for short life retail and logistics applications and can be used to print price markdown labels, address, product, courier and postage labels.
Direct Thermal Top Coated Paper
Offers a protective surface coat on one side ensuring the labels are more resistant to marking, are more resistant to fading in sunlight and are smudge-proof, solvent and grease resistant. Top coated direct thermal labels resistant to grease. Ideal applications include weight labels (meat packers, supermarkets), price marking labels (excellent print of EAN and UPC-codes) or frozen food labels with a freezer adhesive.
Semi Gloss Paper
Also known as mid-gloss, this is possibly the most common thermal transfer material, being low cost, providing good print quality and looking good from a presentation point of view. Ideal for use in environments where print needs to be longer lasting and may be exposed to direct sunlight. Typical applications include product identification, work in progress, shipping labels and pharmaceutical.
The lowest cost label material, most popular types are uncoated papers (also known as litho or vellum) suitable for high volume printing. More expensive options, which provide a better print quality are smoother versions (calendared) and coated matt papers. The main disadvantage of matt uncoated papers is that they can mark easily. Ideal for labelling of packaging boxes and pallets, product identification, picking and receiving.
Polyester (PET) films are suited to high quality long lasting applications requiring resistance to heat, water, oil and chemicals. Typical applications include asset and serial number labels, cosmetics, appliances, electrical equipment and instruments, instruction tags on home and industrial utilities, drum and logistics labelling.
Polyethylene (PE) films are suited to applications that require resistance to water, oil and chemicals. They conform well to package contours and flex well with squeezable packaging. Common applications include labelling test tubes, vials, chemical drums and products with a highly curved surface.
Polypropylene (PP) films are suited to applications requiring resistance to water, oil and chemicals. Polypropylene labels offer a long term solution to labelling packaging materials, patient and laboratory samples and tear-resistant shelf edge labels. Available in white, silver and transparent, polypropylene labels are durable and can be used to achieve long-term sustainability within labelling beverages, personal care, toiletries and cosmetics. Transparent polypropylene labels are typically used in rigid bottle applications to achieve the ‘no-label look’.
Void label material leaves a VOID impression on the surface of the item and the label if the label is removed. The label cannot be re-applied. Void labels are ideal for labelling rating plates, seal labels for electronic components and anti-pilfering outer case seals. A range of materials are available offering instant tamper-indicating qualities, even when applied to low energy surfaces.
Tamper evident/resistant material is usually made from Ultra Destruct Vinyl. The material fractures easily upon removal, preventing subsequent re-application. (i.e. it breaks up as you try to remove it). Tamper evident labels are also referred to as ultra destructible, tamper proof or anti tamper labels.
Inkjet - Matt Paper
Matt White top coated inkjet paper gives excellent print results with water based ink-jet printing. Suitable for advertising and promotional labelling applications (indoor posters, billboards and signs).
Inkjet - Gloss Paper
Our range of gloss inkjet paper is designed to give a photo-quality finish and, depending on the printer used, gives a waterproof, UV resistant printout. Glossy labels are typically used in retail environments where labels must attract attention on first glance, but these labels are also suitable for many more applications including packaging labels, product labels, bottle labels, shelf edge labels and many more.
Inkjet - Matt Polyethylene
White matte inkjet polyethylene labels, resistant to water, chemicals and heat, these labels are fully compliant with BS 5609 for GHS and healthcare labels
Inkjet - Peel and Reveal
Compatible with Inkjet Colour Label Printers, our peel and reveal labels have a printable top surface with a pre-printed inner labels of your unique information. Ideal to comply with the TDP regulations. Our peel and reveal labels are one of the most cost effective ways to produce eLiquid labels with all required information and keeping the flexibility of printing your own labels on-demand.